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Old 07-22-2021, 12:56 PM   #1
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Adding more solar panels

I'm going to add 2 more 100w panels to my 21V. It came with 200W Zamp Obsidian rigid panels. I'm going with 2 more of like panels. I know they are a lot more money for them then other panels but just want the same. What is the best way to mount them without drilling holes to mount them. The original are fastened down by drilling. I'm thinking of mounting them with aluminum T track that the bolt for the mounts well fit in. Then VHB tape to hold T track down. Then I'll caulk around the T track after it is installed. Give me your thoughts?

This is the T track that I'll use.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...language=en_US
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Old 07-22-2021, 01:25 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by butch50 View Post
I'm going to add 2 more 100w panels to my 21V. It came with 200W Zamp Obsidian rigid panels. I'm going with 2 more of like panels. I know they are a lot more money for them then other panels but just want the same. What is the best way to mount them without drilling holes to mount them. The original are fastened down by drilling. I'm thinking of mounting them with aluminum T track that the bolt for the mounts well fit in. Then VHB tape to hold T track down. Then I'll caulk around the T track after it is installed. Give me your thoughts?

This is the T track that I'll use.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...language=en_US
Your track solution with VHB and caulking around sound good. What I've noticed with the 3M VHB tape, is that it doesn't do well in extreme heat situations (live in Vegas). So what I learned is to use the 3M VHB primer on the roof and that solves this issue and make you feel really secure that the panel will not go anywhere. I've done this on 2 different motorhomes (1st one is still going strong at the 5 year mark), and I repeated the install on my 2020 View. I made my own feet, but looking at the Zamp site, I really like their feet with the bolt sticking up. I personally would just use those from any of my future installs. The brackets I made look pretty much identical to the Zamps but was quite a bit of work to fabricate.
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Old 07-22-2021, 02:24 PM   #3
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Thanks for your post, so I think I'll forge on with my plan. Thanks for the 3m primer tip, I'll be doing that.
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Old 07-22-2021, 03:16 PM   #4
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Not sure if you meant that you have two existing 200W panels or a total of 200W of existing panels. If you add two 100 watt panels, look at the capacity of your solar controller. Zamp makes PWM and MPPT controllers I believe.

If it is a PWM controller then consider changing it out for a MPPT controller made by Renogy or Victron. These are 15% more efficient than PWM controllers and more importantly they can handle higher solar panel voltages.

If you ultimately will have four panels, wire them in series in pairs and wire the two pairs in parallel. This will double the voltage and halve the current. The lower current will result in a lower voltage drop and make using the existing 10 gauge wire more feasible.

Controllers are usually rated as the maximum output current that they can handle. 400 watts will result in about 400/12= 33 amps output. So use at least a 40A MPPT controller.

David
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Old 07-22-2021, 06:06 PM   #5
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Thanks for your info but I'll be wiring them in parallel. If in series if you have any shading on any part of a panel it shuts the whole panel down.

I presently have 200 watts of Zamp Obsidian panels and plan on adding another 200W. The rig already has a Zamp 30 amp PWM controller and well handle over 500W. I know that a MPPT controllers are better than PWM but I not changing out everything. I'm just adding 2 more panels in an existing system and not going to rebuild it all.

Thanks for the info.
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Old 07-22-2021, 06:26 PM   #6
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This is a picture of my Install on my 2020 View. I removed the factory install by Winnebago which was a terrible install. I patched their holes and the new install was with VHB tape. These pictures are before I did the primer and caulking. The panels are removal by taking off the nut on each bolt. The bolt is affixed to the metal plate and does not go into the roof. Also I put a layer of choroplast under due to the flex panel heat. You won't have that problem with your obsidian panels. I did cut off the ends of the solar panel wire and put correct polarity ends on them. The Zamp system reverses their wire so Winnebago put a hoakie splice at the end.
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Old 07-22-2021, 07:18 PM   #7
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Thanks for your help. I just ordered my new panels, T Track, Silka, VHB and primer.

I'm just got out of my back brace after 3 months and surgery so still moving a little slow. I have to take it easy and am not supposed to lift more than 10ls for 5 more weeks. Luckily the panels are not that heavy so I think I can handle them I have my Battle Born batteries installed when we bought the rig so after getting this installed
I'll be good for awhile, I think I'm going to install a Cat Strap to try and stop the converter from being stolen.
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Old 07-23-2021, 09:37 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crah View Post
I did cut off the ends of the solar panel wire and put correct polarity ends on them. The Zamp system reverses their wire so Winnebago put a hoakie splice at the end.
I won't have to change any of my panel connectors as this is a Zamp setup from panel to controller. I had to order an their adapter to tie 2 of the panels together as I only have one port open for the additional 2 panels.

Thanks guys for all your help, I think I got this.
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Old 07-23-2021, 09:42 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidM View Post
Not sure if you meant that you have two existing 200W panels or a total of 200W of existing panels. If you add two 100 watt panels, look at the capacity of your solar controller. Zamp makes PWM and MPPT controllers I believe.

If it is a PWM controller then consider changing it out for a MPPT controller made by Renogy or Victron. These are 15% more efficient than PWM controllers and more importantly they can handle higher solar panel voltages.

If you ultimately will have four panels, wire them in series in pairs and wire the two pairs in parallel. This will double the voltage and halve the current. The lower current will result in a lower voltage drop and make using the existing 10 gauge wire more feasible.

Controllers are usually rated as the maximum output current that they can handle. 400 watts will result in about 400/12= 33 amps output. So use at least a 40A MPPT controller.

David
I'm sorry as I didn't make myself clear. I have 2 100W panels now and I'll be adding 2 more 100W panels for a total of 400. The Zamp PWM 30 is capable on 510W per Zamp's web page.

Thanks
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Old 07-23-2021, 09:47 AM   #10
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One more question just popped into my mind. Yea you thought I was done.

How are all of you fastening down the panel wires? I don't want to have to drill any holes.

TIA
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Old 07-23-2021, 10:12 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by butch50 View Post
The Zamp PWM 30 is capable on 510W per Zamp's web page.
Take a close look at the Zamp 3-Port combiner box on the roof. Some are marked "400w Max." Not that you'll exceed that, but just so you know.
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Old 07-23-2021, 10:13 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by butch50 View Post
How are all of you fastening down the panel wires? I don't want to have to drill any holes.
I used strips of Eternabond tape.
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Old 07-23-2021, 10:23 AM   #13
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@butch50... is your Zamp controller in a compartment or mounted inside on a wall for viewing the monitor?

I ask because if it's inside a compartment and out of sight you should consider changing it to a Victron 100/30 SmartSolar controller. The Victron is MPPT and much more efficient and much smarter. Plus you get all the details on what's happening solarwise via your smartphone app.

I did this change before adding a 4th panel (which I still haven't done) and I think I gained almost as much extra power from the new controller as adding another panel would have yielded with the old PWM Zamp controller.

It's a simple swap and outside of the fact that it's larger and has no readout there was nothing tricky about it.

I wouldn't recommend it if you have a Zamp controller inside mounted on a wall. Because changing that out for a bigger blue box would be unsightly.
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Old 07-23-2021, 10:39 AM   #14
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My controller is mounted inside so I can see the meter.
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Old 07-23-2021, 10:51 AM   #15
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My controller is mounted inside so I can see the meter.
In that case you would not be happy with the change. Too bad Zamp doesn't make a MPPT controller that you could substitute.
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Old 07-26-2021, 04:27 PM   #16
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I like your idea with using t tracks but I wondering how you secure the bolts in the track so they do not slide. Thanks
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Old 07-26-2021, 06:43 PM   #17
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I like your idea with using t tracks but I wondering how you secure the bolts in the track so they do not slide. Thanks
The bolt heads fit into the track and the you place your solar mounts and on the top of the rail then install a nut and tighten down. Then install another nut on top of the original one and tighten it down. . Don't tighten down the first nut to tight as this might cause the bolt to turn and spin in the track.


Hope this makes sense.
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Old 07-28-2021, 10:58 AM   #18
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Thanks for all the help guys. I' must waiting for my panels now. Should be here Monday.


The track mountings is not my idea I have to give credit to RV WITH TITO from youtube
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Old 07-29-2021, 06:39 PM   #19
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With my 2021 Navion I had to relocate one of the poorly mounted Zamp obsidian panels and then had room to add a 100W Renogy and a 190W Grape panel. Total cost delivered to my house for the two panels was $350 including tax and shipping. The Zamp obsidian 100W panel sells for $500 and two would have cost me $650 more and I would have had an additional 200 Watts instead of 290 Watts.

No issues with the voltage output from the Renogy and Grape panels and I joined the two Zamp in parallel to feed into one of the ports on the roof cap and then each of the new panels were connected to the remaining ports. Only place to be careful is with the Zamp use of SAE connectors with the polarity reversed. Easy to find adapters for the SAE connection that reverse the polarity from a standard MC4 connector.

The Grape 190W panel is 58.27 x 26.57 in size and the Renogy 100W panel is 42.2 x 19.6 inches. The Renogy fit on the left side of the motorhome and the 190W panel was placed crosswise at the back.

I also shortened the factory installation of the Zamp kit as the wires were 2-3 times too long for the length of the wire runs and this costs current to the charge controller. With the Zamp kit is is plug and play and lots of corners are cut as a result. Considering the cost of the motorhome it is a pretty Mickey Mouse installation by Winnebago.
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Old 07-29-2021, 08:42 PM   #20
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I have had good results with the 3M VHB tape, under plastic mounting pads. I buffed the fiberglass gel coat and wiped it with alcohol before setting the mounting pads.
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